Poulsbo considers options for new park

The City of Poulsbo recently acquired a field at the corner of Little Valley Road and Berndt Road. The question now is what to do with it.  - Richard D. Oxley / North Kitsap Herald
The City of Poulsbo recently acquired a field at the corner of Little Valley Road and Berndt Road. The question now is what to do with it.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / North Kitsap Herald

POULSBO — The city has acquired a small corner of Poulsbo for its very own after more than a year of discussions. But its work is not over. Now it has to decide what to do with it.

“What are we going to do with it to turn it into an asset?” Mayor Becky Erickson asked at an Aug. 25 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. “Right now, it’s kind of an eyesore.”

The land is currently carved out as a baseball field, though a small one. Its 1.2 acres sits at the corner of Little Valley Road and Bernt Road and is assessed at $108,000. It is zoned for low-residential use.

Erickson signed for the transfer of land in August. It was the culmination of nearly 18 months of work and discussions with Kitsap County, which previously owned the property.

“Without the help of (Commissioner) Rob Gelder, this would not have happened and I am grateful for his support,” Erickson said.

Gelder said that his intentions while working on the property transfer was that it would be used for some form of recreation.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission tossed out a few ideas for the park from ball clubs to space for the Poulsbo Farmers Market. But what to do with the field will ultimately be up the local community.

The city’s next step will be to draft a request for proposal from area non-profits. Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey and Erickson are partnering with the city’s community services committee to draft the request proposal. The city aims to have another organization lease the property as a means care for it. That way, the city will have one less park to maintain.

A variety of interested parties, and ideas for its use have been recommended when the park was discussed over the past few months.

“Several ideas have been suggested,” Erickson said. “The Kitsap Children’s Musical Theater, the Pee Wee football program, little league, soccer clubs, bicycle clubs to create a bike course, archery range, open air swimming pool, the garden club to create a community garden.”

The list goes on.

“What do the citizens want to do with this property that will provide increased recreational benefit for Poulsbo?” Erickson asked.

Erickson is hopeful that the city will receive promising proposals. Otherwise, ownership of the land may have to go elsewhere.

“If the council does not like any of the responses to the RFP when received, we would sell this property and use those funds to support other parks or trails in the city,” Erickson said. “The council would make the final decision, as is their authority as the policy makers for the city.”

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